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Lost my precious boy, Logan


Kacy

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I found this wonderful forum 3 1/2 years ago after losing my Cavalier, Lucy.  I never dreamed at that time that I would be coming back again the following year after the loss of my Cavalier, Allie.  Then, six months later, Molly.  Yesterday, we lost the last of the 4 Cavaliers we adopted within a 2 year period starting 7 years ago.  He was our first Cavalier, and the reason we fell in love with the breed.  We knew about the heart disease, which is pretty much a given with the breed, but never expected to lose all of our babies in such a short amount of time.

In June of last year, Logan was not only diagnosed with congestive heart failure, but lung cancer also.  We took him in to the vet because he had started coughing.  I thought for sure he was going into CHF, and was so shocked to learn about the lung cancer.  Soon after, he was diagnosed with the CHF.   Surgery for the cancer was the only option, but due to his bad heart, it was out of the question.  So, I found some supplements and got him on some heart meds, and he did okay for the following year.  But then the cough started again.  It seemed to be more the tumor rather than the heart, but it was really hard for the vets to tell exactly which was causing the bigger problem.  Logan still did fairly well, but a few weeks ago, he started losing his appetite.  He was still eating all of his meals, but not like with the enthusiasm he used to have.  

Even though I didn't want to, I asked the vet for some meds for his appetite and possible nausea, which I picked up Saturday.  I wish now I had only given him half a dose, but I was so worried he would quit eating and we would end up in the ER over the weekend.  As it turned out, that's where we ended up anyway.  Logan ate really well, but then he started acting funny - like he was a bit dazed and also wobbly.  I contacted a woman I know who used to be a vet tech and she said it is a possible side effect of the medication, although not a common one.  Of course, I was upset with myself for giving him the medication.  As the day went on, he just didn't seem to be right.  The vet tech said it should work it's way out of his system but since it was only given once a day, it would take a while.  I thought he was doing better so decided to sleep on the couch to keep an eye on him.  About an hour after we went to bed, I heard him up walking again.  He didn't seem right.  So, off we went to the ER.

This particular ER has terrible memories from trips there with the other dogs that we lost.  The vets there are very young and seem to be very inexperienced - not exactly comforting when your dog is possibly in an emergency situation.  After waiting for four hours, we finally saw the vet.  She listened briefly to Logan's heart and lungs, seemed to dismiss any connection between the medication and Logan's symptoms, and said we need to leave him there overnight.  I had already said I wasn't going to do that because I didn't want him to die there without us with him.  She said if we didn't want to leave him then we should euthanize him, although she could give him a lasix injection and send him home with us.  We were so exhausted from being there all of that time, that I just couldn't make a decision to euthanize him.  He actually seemed to be doing better since he had slept several of the hours we were there.  So, we had them give the injection.  He walked to the back room on his own and back to us after the injection.  When he walked in the room, he was wagging his tail, and I think anxious to go home. 

He seemed better on Sunday.  I was in touch off and on all day with the ER where his cardiologist is located (about a 2 hr drive and not the same ER we had taken him to closer to our home).  They were so helpful and caring and asked me to keep updating them about how he was doing.  The resident said to increase his lasix, assuming it was the heart causing the problems, but to discontinue the other medications.  I just wanted to get him thru until we could take him Monday morning to our vet, which we did.

She ran an xray and found some fluid in the lungs, but it was hard to say if it was the fluid causing the problems or the tumor, which had grown.  She contacted the cardiologist's office and together they came up with some options to try, if we decided to proceed.  I had mixed emotions because I didn't want to put him thru anything if we were going to end up losing him.  But on the other hand, if there was a chance we could get him back to a reasonably good quality of life, then I had to try.  So, that's what we decided to do.  They were only going to run bloodwork and give him some oxygen and then call the cardiologist back with the results to decide on the schedule for medication.  While they were doing that, we ran down to the pharmacy to pick up one of the medications because it is a human med and my vet didn't carry it.  We dropped it off and went next door to get a cup of coffee while they were waiting for the bloodwork results.  While at the restaurant, they called my husband's cell and said Logan had taken a sudden turn for the worse.  So, we literally ran out of the restaurant and into our vet's office and back to where Logan was.  His heart quit beating less than a minute after we got there.  I was just devastated.

Of course since then, I have gone over and over things in my mind.  Why didn't I take him to the vet Saturday morning like I was planning on doing, but decided instead to just pick up the meds because he was starting to get stressed riding in the car?  Why didn't I contact the cardiologist for suggestions for the appetite stimulant rather than ask my regular vet?  Maybe he would have prescribed another medication.  Maybe the one medication had just pushed him over the edge.  All the second guessing started.  I know this is all normal, but maybe if things were done differently, the outcome would have been different.  Maybe we could have gotten Logan back to a good point again.

So, today is our first day without Logan.  My husband seems to be handling it okay, but he was not as close to Logan was I was.  I feel like I never totally accepting losing the other three, and now Logan is gone also.  I have other dogs, but these 4 dogs were more special to me than any I have ever owned.  I feel so bitter that they were all taken away from me.  I would like to believe they are together and in a better place, but am starting to have my doubts about that.  I question why God would allow any of them to suffer.  They were the kindest, gentlest dogs you would ever meet.  I feel bad that their deaths were not peaceful.

I sometimes feel like I have just been going thru the motions of living since we lost the first three.  Life is just not the same without them.  Yes, there are good days, but even they can be overshadowed by thoughts of my girls, and now Logan, too.  These losses just seem to affect me more as I've gotten older.  Even reading forums like this one can be upsetting.  You can start to take on everyone's pain because you know how it feels to lose one of our babies.  There just don't seem to be answers sometimes. 

Sorry this has gotten to be so long.  Thanks for listening.

Mary

 

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Mary,

I am so sorry you've lost another dog...I remember the breed, very beautiful, gentle.  I know when my husband died, I asked "why"...I never got any answer.  I don't know that there IS an answer.  I know there's different beliefs out there but I personally don't think God takes them from us, I think things happen that we can't explain or understand.  I feel he is with us as we go through it.  I also know that grief can make you question your faith.  It seems if you have it to start with, it'll return, but I've learned not to worry about the questioning period, it's a part of the grief.  I only know this is a very hard thing to go through, very emotional, very painful.  And it's not fair.  There's nothing fair about loss.  Like you said, you never expected to lose them all in such a short period.  One thing that helps me is try to look at each day you had with them as a gift.  It is how I look at life with my dog...he's getting older now and I fear losing him because he means everything in the world to me, but I know it will happen and I know it'll hurt like the dickens, and I don't know how I'll make it through it except the same way I made it through it when I lost my husband...one day at a time.  To look at any more than that (the rest of my life) is too much, I can only handle this day.

And I believe with all my heart we'll be with them again.  And that they are at peace now, well, and happy.  It is that hope that gets me through my pain, my loss.  

I wish there were some words I could give you to bring you comfort.  Please know you are being sent hugs.

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Thank you, Kay.  I appreciate your kind words.  I know that you have certainly had your losses also and also know that you are one of the first to support others here.

I guess anyone who adopts four dogs that they know will more than likely end up having heart disease shouldn't be surprised when they do.  I have owned many dogs over the years and so, have lost many dogs.   None of the losses were easy, of course.  But I found I was able to more easily accept the losses of the dogs who had a long, good lives and were with us for most of it.  That was not the case with my Cavaliers.  Plus, they were such tender hearted dogs that there is even more of a sense of needing to protect them.  I know that second guessing isn't a good thing, but in looking back, I feel like I let them down by making the wrong decisions at times.  I know we can only do the best we can at the time, and I also know that every decision was made with their best interest at heart - but that doesn't necessarily mean it was the right decision.

As for my faith, I believe that God is in control of how things turn out in our lives and our pets' lives - as we say "put them in God's hands".  As I watched each one of my dogs die, each under different circumstances, I have to wonder why God would allow them to go thru what they did.  I do believe He has the power to heal them or to protect them from even getting sick to begin with.

I so want to believe we will see them again.  I can't imagine not seeing them. 

Thank you again for your support. 

Mary

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I truly believe dogs go to heaven.  In my lifetime as I've gotten to know God, I've seen He is a being that acts with deliberation and great thought.  The Bible says of heaven, "The lion shall lay down with the lamb".  That tells me two things, that animals will be at peace and they exist in heaven.  Now comes to the thought, "Will OUR dogs go to heaven?"  Why would God make the most wonderful creature there is (ours) and put some random lion and lamb in heaven, but not OUR DOG?!  That wouldn't make sense!  Why waste a perfectly good dog!  Why they are the best of all creatures!  God holds up a dog to us when He tells us how He wants us to love Him!  It only stands to reason, our dogs will be there when we arrive at heaven's gate.  No more need of leash and tether, they will be free to play and at peace with one another.
I have no answers to "why", I never had any when I lost my husband, George.  Our bodies are not perfect here, nor is this our eternal home, that is still to come, but I know this, they're waiting for us to join them.

There must be a heaven
for the animal friends we love.
They are not human,
yet they bring out our own humanity ~
sometimes in ways that other people cannot.
They do not worry about fame or fortune ~
instead they bring our hearts nearer to the joy of simple things.
Each day they teach us little lessons
in trust and steadfast affection.
Whatever heaven may be,
there's surely a place in it
for friends as good as these.

-- Author Unknown

 

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I hope that you are right - that they are there waiting.

Yesterday, my son went and picked up Logan's ashes.  It's always so difficult to look at that little wooden box and remember that just a few days ago, my sweet little guy was standing in front of me, wagging his tail.

Thank you again, Kay.

Mary

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It's hard picking up ashes, I'm glad your son was able to do it for you.  I remember picking up my husband's, it was really tough.  I didn't try to do it by myself.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fortunately, I've never had to go alone to pick up the ashes of any of my dogs.  Either my husband has gone, we have gone together or twice now, my son has gone.  I have to say that I can hardly look at the little box on the nightstand with Logan's name on it.  Got a card from my vet's office, and it's sitting on my kitchen counter unopened.  Just can't bring myself to look at it yet.

I learned the other day that a pet store that is about 40 minutes away from us has a pet loss support group.  It's held once a month, in the evening.  I'm going to try to go next Thursday.  I wish it was closer because once winter hits, it may not be easy to go.  Other than my online friends, I don't really have many people that understand how I feel right now.  So, it will be good to be around others that do understand.

Mary

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It's good to know that you're planning to attend an in-person support group, Mary, as I think you will find it helpful to be among kindred spirits who understand the pain of losing a cherished animal companion. See also some of the other resources available, in case you're interested:

Pet Loss Counseling

Helplines, Message Boards, Chats

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On October 6, 2017 at 5:29 AM, Kacy said:

I hope that you are right - that they are there waiting.

I also believe that they are there waiting for us. I also wonder if maybe the pets we have who are still alive may be in some contact with those who have passed. I had a dream in which my cat Lena bolted off into the night, only to return with Freya, a cat who I had lost many years before and also Bugger, a beloved and long lost cat of my close friend. It was a dream, but it felt so right...Maybe Lena and Freya are linked to each other through me. I believe we are all linked, but particularly to those we love, not just now but forever.

I lost my dad - well didn't exactly lose him, but he died almost two years ago. We were very close - during his last ten years it was just the two of us and then the three of us - Daddy, Lena and me. I miss him so much, but I hear him talking to me frequently. Sometimes it is something familiar, sometimes practical advice or comforting words about some current problem, and sometimes he says something really funny or just out of the blue. This morning I was really feeling his loss and was sort of chatting with him, and he said something about it not being so bad in his current state because he could still be with me, but also spend time with my mother (12 years gone), his grandparents (really long gone), and the pets from his childhood. He talked about these pets a lot at the end of his life, Mike and Mack - both black dogs, and Sam, a black cat. I think he is back together with the pets from his childhood. Maybe my dad and his pets actually have found Freya.

Anyway, Mary, I am so sorry about your loss of your dogs. It is really hard, and just like losing people the loss becomes more bearable but it still hurts the heart. It has been 30 years since I lost Freya. For more than 20 years I would dream that I suddenly found her and we would go running towards each other in a field of flowers like the end of a Hallmark movie with us spinning around and her in my arms. I can't believe that she is totally gone. And Lena -I am even more attached to her. But she is still alive and I am hoping that she lives as long as I do. The record holder in the Guinness book or world records lived to be 38! I think Lena can do it. I can't think about the alternative. Losing beloved pets is wrenching to the heart. -Laura

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Marty - thank you so much for all of the links.  That is so helpful.  I will definitely look into them.  I'm very anxious to go to this support group.  The woman who owns the pet store where the group meets has lost 3 of her own dogs in a short period of time, so allows this group to meet in her store after closing hours. 

Laura - I appreciate you sharing your experience with the loss of your dad as well as your Freya.  So wonderful that she came back to you in your dreams.  It is a comforting thought that our loved ones are together.  It's interesting that your dad talked about his long lost pets at the end of his life.  I'm sure you appreciate being able to spend those last ten years with him.

Tomorrow will be two weeks since we lost Logan.  I feel like he is just slipping away.  Sometimes it's like he was never here.  I felt that way with the loss of each of my dogs - like I have to try to remember them sometimes.  Not always though.  Sometimes, I look around expecting him to be here, especially in the mornings.  It's like it hasn't sunk in yet that he is gone.  I know that probably doesn't make sense, but that's how I feel. 

I hope you are able to spend many, many more years with Lena. 

Thank you both again.

Mary

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You might try to find ways to preserve your memories of Logan, Mary, by (for example) gathering all the pictures you have of him, and placing them in some sort of album or memory book ~ or by writing down all the funny or silly or otherwise wonderful things you remember about your times with him. Do whatever you can to keep his memory alive in your mind and in your heart ~ and know that the love you have for him will never leave you. 

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I don't have any answers as to the "why", I know how badly it hurts to lose them, we miss them beyond belief and feel inconsolable.  In time the intensity lessens but we still remember them and miss them.  I wish for comfort for your hurting heart as you try to adjust to this loss.

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